A desert nation to the south of Denos. It is a land rich in mineral resources, but behind on technological development. Historically, Azer-Baresh was a loose federation of city states ruled by a hereditary dynasty of sorcerers known as the Viziers. Local legend has it that in ancient times, the country was ruled by dragons, and that these Viziers are their descendants.
Azer-Baresh was once a colony of the Empire, and strained under imperial rule. In more modern times, this history can lead to tension with the fragmented remnants of the old imperial state. Denos in particular has a history of making one-sided trade agreements and political arrangements. Nonetheless, the Viziers and merchant princes of the country rely on trade to stay relevant technologically, and to supplement the countries otherwise poor agricultural output.
Denos and other nations of the former Empire take advantage of this reliance, and also upon tension between the Viziers and the merchant princes, and less frequently, tension amongst the Viziers themselves.
Recently, a classicist revolution against the Viziers has taken place, with the merchant princes swiftly and decisively gaining control over a few key cities along the eastern coast. It was not entirely bloodless, but the fighting was small scale and resolved swiftly. There is now an unofficial cease-fire between the two factions, as no major military operations have taken place within the past few months. Tensions, however, remain quite high.
Culture and Religion
Though Azer-Baresh is more of a confederation than a true nation, the Bareshi have a great deal of national pride. Much homage is paid to legends of ancient times, when Azer-Baresh is said to have been a monolithic empire ruled by powerful dragons. It is in this spirit that the Viziers find most of their support; the people look to them as heralds of an ancient time of glory. The culture of co-operation between the Viziers themselves waxes and wanes, though the affects of their political machinations are rarely felt outside of the upper circles. Most of these contentions revolve around status symbols and marriages, assassinations and/or coups are seen as a risk to the stability of the nation. The net result is that though the Viziers jockey amongst themselves intermittently, they present a mostly unified front to the rest of the world.
The Bareshi traditionally have a very classicist society, with Viziers as the ruling caste and merchant families controlling much of the trade. As the effects of more industrialized nations have begun to influence the country, the ranks of the mercantile class have begun to grow, both in population and in influence. Many believe this to be the primary factor at play in the recent revolution.
In ancient times, the Bareshi were said to have worshiped their dragon emperors, and this reverence is carried down to the modern day Viziers. Worship of the ruling class is less about the deification of individual Viziers, and more about glorifying the spirit of the ancient Azer-Bareshi empire. A typical prayer may look something like: ‘Angoreth, duke of the flames, walk with me this day, and may the light of your breath guide my soul away from shadow.’ Spirits of dragons or Bareshi heroes are invoked, more for spiritual guidance or fortitude than for a boon. The rule of the Viziers is intrinsically tied to the Bareshi church, and many ruling ceremonies are religious in nature. This has caused no small amount of tension between the lower classes and the merchant princes during the recent turmoil, however, many believe that it is possible to still revere the state while opposing the viziers.
It is important to mention that it is frequent practice for an individual Bareshi to worship many deities, and that revering the state above the gods is quite rare amongst the general population.